All help All

I first became aware of my grandparent's disappointment of me when I was a teenager. It was deserved, but it still hurt when my grandfather told me his dog was better than me. I had done some horrible things and yes, I had deserved scorn, but I didn't deserve cruelty.  Now, as an adult I look back on that part of my life and I wonder why no one stepped up and saw that I was in crisis. I was struggling. Jesus, I had my first overdose back then. Was it so hard to figure out I had some serious problems? I'm not excusing my behavior because I was incorrigible. I hurt many people and I'm deeply ashamed of that and always will be.

Whenever I would go "home" to Maine I always spent one day visiting my deceased relatives.  My brothers always thought this was rather morbid of me, but it never struck me that way.  I ways grabbed some lunch at a fast food place and ate lunch with my father, grandfather, grandmother and aunt.  They were all buried next to each other in the same cemetery.  On one such visit, I had had an emotional awakening the entire time I was in Maine.  My feelings were raw and I needed to vent so sitting there in front of my father and grandparents who were all non-participating entities in my life growing up I blasted them with everything I had.  I'm glad I was alone because if anyone had been in earshot, they would have thought I was crazy.  My final words to my father were, "Carl Goggins, are you listening to me?" Of course, he wasn't!  He had been dead for over 30 years at that time.  My words fell on deaf ears and my tears fell on stone marker bearing his name.

My next stop was to visit my mother's parents. My heart was so heavy because I knew what a disappointment I had been to them and I had just come from having "words" with my father.  I wish I had been able to say I'm sorry to them while they were still alive.  I wish they had known the turmoil I felt inside me growing up.  I wish they knew the panic I felt.  I wish they knew that I felt I had nowhere to go and no one to talk to and how trapped I felt.  I had to keep everything inside and for a child that's a huge burden.  Eventually it's going to erupt and it did erupt.  When it did, all everyone saw was a kid acting bad and not one person questioned why I was acting that way.  I don't think anyone cared or wanted to know because no one wanted to take any responsibility.

I pulled into the small cemetery where my grandparents are buried and got out of the car.  But instead of going to their grave, I stopped dead in my tracks. On top of their headstone was a huge roll of duct tape.  There wasn't a soul in the small cemetery and why would someone leave a roll of duct tape on my grandparents headstone?  I started laughing because I have a "thing" about duct tape and I took it as my father's answer that he was listening to me. I took the roll and sat down with my grandparents and told them I was sorry for being a disappointment to them and I wept.  It hurt to say that.  It hurts to admit that I hurt so many people that I loved and I wasn't able to tell them I was sorry while they were alive.

Now, let me fast forward to the present day...my mother is 92.  I love her dearly, but we've had a what I'll call a "ruffled" relationship my entire life.  It's never been smooth.  I'm her only daughter, but I've always wondered things like why she never sat me down at a certain age and showed me how to put make up on or how to style my hair, etc. when she herself dressed to the nines and looked like a model whenever she left the house. The other day I sat down in hopes that with the time we have left together that I might try to mend our relationship somewhat and make it smoother by offering an apology.  It was so difficult for me to hand her the olive branch, but I did it. I told her that I was so sorry that I wasn't the daughter that she needed and wanted me to be.  I told her that I really wanted us to enjoy what time we had left together and that I didn't want us to keep butting our heads together all the time (that's a story for another day.) I said I didn't want to be a disappointment to her any longer. My mother sat there without any reaction whatsoever while I wept and said nothing. She said nothing. She said nothing and she has said nothing about it since. End of discussion.

I can't even begin to describe the emotions that have flooded through me lately. I feel as though she continually punishes me for things I did long ago. I know karma is a bitch, but when is enough enough? When have you paid your dues? When are you truly forgiven? I can't help, but feel that my mother's silence is her way of being cruel because at 92 she's limited in what she can actually do now. I mean she can't whack the hell out of me with a hairbrush or a wooden spoon. Oh, I guess she could try, but I'm a little faster than her. I really hate to say that I think it's her way of being cruel  because I do love her. Jesus Christ! Now, I'm crying again! And I have to go find some meme to fit this stupid ass whiny post. Blah! Blah! Blah! Oh Mildred! Dry it up! Go get a Kleenex! You're dripping all over the keyboard!

By the way, I still have that huge roll of duct tape my father gave me and I use it quite often.  Each time I use it, I think of him and I actually thank him. The last time was to tape a hole worn in the fingers of my favorite pair of gardening gloves. Don't say "get a new pair!"  I've looked and they don't make that exact same pair and that's the pair I want so when I wear a hole in the fingers...duct tape it is! Thank you, Carl Goggins!

Can I get an Amen up in here?

Addendum: written 10/23/2022 Sunday morning - My mother passed away almost six months after I wrote this blog post on 6/1/2020. Although I'm much better now grieving has been a difficult process and finding purpose in life after being a caregiver for two elderly parents for the better part of two decades of my life has been challenging. When the options are limitless, how does one choose what to do?

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